Tag: Matt Harvey

Why Travis D’Arnaud Is Key to the Mets Hoisting the World Series Trophy

No New York Mets player will be more active during the 2015 World Series than Travis d’Arnaud

The catcher for the Mets has not yet missed a postseason game. D’Arnaud should, so long as he remains healthy, be behind the plate for every pitch made by the Mets against the Kansas City Royals. The task at hand will be that much more difficult for the Mets if d’Arnaud is not, for whatever reasons, at his best. 

His World Series got off to a rough start on Tuesday night. 

With d’Arnaud crouched behind the dish, Matt Harvey began the bottom of the first inning by tossing a fastball over the plate. Alcides Escobar, to the surprise of nobody who watched him in the American League Championship Series, came out swinging. Escobar smashed a ball deep into center field, and Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes failed to properly communicate on who would play the ball. 

Cespedes followed that up with a pair of miscues that allowed Escobar to complete his journey around the bases for an inside-the-park home run. 

Harvey and d’Arnaud not only needed to be on the same page before Harvey took the hill; both should have realized that tempting Escobar so early in the game was unwise. This point was not lost on ESPN analyst Buster Olney, who immediately questioned the pitch after Escobar scored.

What is particularly upsetting about that early mistake for fans of the Mets is that d’Arnaud has been terrific behind the plate for much of the playoffs. D’Arnaud is currently, per ESPN Stats and Info, the best catcher in Major League Baseball as it pertains to getting strike calls for pitchers. His ability to “frame” pitches during the National League Championship Series earned d’Arnaud praise from analysts and fans.

As Jonah Kari of Grantland pointed out in September, d’Arnaud has not always been known for his defensive skills:

Improvement has come behind the plate, too. As a rookie last season, d’Arnaud led the National League with 12 passed balls (in 105 games behind the plate); this year he’s allowed just one (in 53 games as a catcher). Last year, opposing base-stealers ran wild on d’Arnaud, swiping 58 bags in 72 attempts — marking a lousy 19 percent caught stealing rate. This year, they’ve stolen 26 times in 38 tries, good for a much improved 32 percent caught stealing rate. Amid that improvement, d’Arnaud has remained one of the better pitch-framers in the game, ranking 13th this year (and 14th last year) in that category per StatCorner.com.

The Royals will continue to be aggressive at the plate and on the basepaths during the World Series. It is what has gotten the club to within three wins of a championship. This was not lost on Kevin Kernan of the New York Post as he was previewing the World Series: 

The Royals steal bases, go first to third and even first to home as (Lorenzo) Cain did to send the Blue Jays packing in the ALCS.

The pressure will be on catcher Travis d’Arnaud.

“We just have to execute,’’ he said. “We’re definitely ready for this challenge. We all believe in each other and that’s all we can really do. Get your work in and get your routines down and just go out there and play the game. It’s tough to know what is going to happen. All I can do is be best prepared for it as I can.’’

ESPN’s Olney spotted something concerning while watching d’Arnaud during a Mets’ workout session on Monday:

The Royals tested d’Arnaud and his comfort in the bottom of the sixth of Game 1.

With Kendrys Morales at the plate and the Mets leading 3-2, Cain took a short lead from first. Cain broke for second when it could have been argued that d’Arnaud should have called for a pitchout. The New York catcher came up firing, but the throw from d’Arnaud was late and well off the mark.

Cain scored the tying run later in the inning.

It would, of course, be only a plus for the Mets is d’Arnaud were to catch fire as a hitter during the World Series. The same can be said about anybody in the New York lineup. D’Arnaud is currently batting just .200 in the playoffs, 68 points under what he averaged in the regular season (h/t ESPN). The Mets need better from his spot in the order.

What d’Arnaud will provide the Mets as a catcher, though, could make or break the team during the World Series. 

Calling smart games. Keeping pitchers from being overwhelmed by the moment. Earning strikes for starters and relievers. Preventing the Royals from taking extra bases. D’Arnaud must be spot-on in these aspects. He wasn’t in Game 1, and the Mets lost. 

He will hope to have at least four more nights to redeem himself. 

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Top World Series MVP Candidates Ahead of the Fall Classic

Major League Baseball’s postseason can make stars out of the ordinary, and it can also legitimize existing ones. 

This year’s postseason is no exception, as it has already produced wonderful storylines for the likes of Daniel Murphy, Alcides Escobar and the New York Mets starting pitchers. With the World Series starting Tuesday night, those angles could continue to develop, or give way to new players to perform in the spotlight when the Mets and Kansas City Royals meet in the Fall Classic.

The World Series MVP trophy has been scattered between superstar players like Madison Bumgarner and David Ortiz as well as players with lesser reputations like Edgar Renteria and David Eckstein. Based on big names and recent postseason performances, choosing who could win the award in 2015 can be a somewhat accurate exercise.

Here is a look at which players in the World Series have the best chances to be forever known as its MVP, starting with the least-likely candidate, though that is hardly a negative.

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Matt Harvey Named Mets Starter for Game 1 of World Series

There won’t be any innings-limit drama for Matt Harvey in the World Series.

The New York Mets ace will be the Game 1 starter when the National League champions begin the Fall Classic on Tuesday against the Kansas City Royals, manager Terry Collins announced Saturday, per ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin.

Harvey will go in Game 1, and Jacob deGrom will follow suit in Game 2. Collins said he doesn’t plan to use any of his starters on three days’ rest, per Rubin, so Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz will pitch in Games 3 and 4, respectively, at Citi Field.

The Mets were looking to limit Harvey’s postseason workload after he pitched 189.1 innings in the regular seasonone year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Harvey said his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, told him that 180 innings should be his maximum this year to protect his health in the long term, per Steve Wilaj of MLB.com.

In August, Harvey told Fox Sports’ Jimmy Traina that he wasn’t concerned and tried to keep his head down when the innings-limit talk began.

“They’re going to go over what’s best, and, obviously, as a player you gotta keep your head down and keep focused and keep with your task at hand,” he said. “If I start worrying about that and it gets in my head, then my performance may suffer.”

With the Mets four wins away from their first World Series title in 29 years, there will be plenty of time for rest in the offseason. Harvey has won both of his starts in the postseason.

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World Series 2015: Full Schedule and Players Who Will Decide MLB Championship

The New York Mets didn’t want to leave any doubt in the minds of the casual fans. An 8-3 thrashing in Game 4 on Wednesday and a sweep of the Chicago Cubs meant they secured their place as the best team in the National League and a spot in the World Series.

Things haven’t been quite as cut-and-dry in the American League, with the Kansas City Royals holding a 3-2 lead on a Toronto Blue Jays team that got a big performance from its bats at exactly the right moment in Game 5.

But with only two games at most remaining in the American League Championship Series, the World Series is nearly upon us—which means it is time to start previewing the Fall Classic and what it will take to bring home the crown.

Let’s take a look at the remaining schedule for the playoffs and preview which players will have an impact on the final outcome of the World Series.


Players Who Will Decide World Series

Mets 2B Daniel Murphy

Has anyone ruled out the theory that Daniel Murphy is a wizard? Until there is substantial evidence to the contrary, I’m not willing to ignore the chance that the Mets second baseman is a practitioner of the Dark Arts.

Murphy finished the regular season with 14 home runs to his name—not a bad number among second baseman but not exactly the type of stats that would hint at what he has done in the postseason. Going yard seven times and in each of his last six games, the 30-year-old is playing like the best player in baseball heading into the World Series.

It would be fair to assume that Murphy is bound to come back to earth at some point in the near future, but seeing as he is already in uncharted territory in terms of baseball history, predicting anything for him would be folly.

The Mets have become the most exciting team in baseball in recent weeks and after completing a sweep of the Cubs are a step closer to securing the franchise’s first title since 1986, in large part thanks to Murphy.

Whoever wins the ALCS—the Royals lead the Blue Jays 3-2 heading into Friday’s Game 6 in Kansas City, Missouri—will have to be wary of Murphy now or risk watching the ball sail into the stands every night.


Royals P Johnny Cueto

As stated above, the Royals carry a 3-2 lead into Game 6—the first of two games at home—and look like the likelier of the two teams to advance to the World Series, even with the hitting the Blue Jays bring to the plate.

Brought in by the Royals at the trade deadline this season from the Cincinnati Reds, Johnny Cueto was the big-name pitcher Kansas City wanted as it became clearer and clearer that a second straight shot at the World Series was in the cards.

Since coming to Kansas City, though, Cueto has been less than consistent, recording a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts with the team in the regular season. Since the playoffs started, things have gotten even worse, with a 7.88 ERA masking an incredible performance in Game 5 against the Houston Astros.

When Cueto is on, he is still one of the best pitchers in the league and has the ability to shut down any lineup, but when he isn’t, having a stellar day in can be brutal—just ask the Blue Jays to whom Cueto gave up eight earned runs in two innings pitched.

The ALCS schedule has Cueto set to pitch in Game 7 against the Blue Jays should it be necessary, meaning even if the Royals don’t make the World Series, it will be partially on their ace pitcher. But if Game 6 does go in favor of Kansas City, Cueto will likely get the Game 1 start against New York and could set the tone for the series to come.


Mets P’s Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey

It doesn’t seem entirely fair to lump the Mets’ three young elite pitchers together—to say nothing of leaving out rookie Steven Matz, who has only started nine games in his career in the majors—but should the Mets win the World Series this year, it will be hard to separate 27-year-old second-year Jacob deGrom, 23-year-old rookie Noah Syndergaard and 26-year-old third-year Matt Harvey.

The Mets have been carried by their core of young pitchers this season in that trio, and even with the offensive explosion, not much has changed since the calendar turned to October.

The three have combined for eight starts in the postseason, allowing 12 total runs among them with the Mets, and won all but one of the games they have started, a 5-2 Game 2 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series.

While Murphy is busy hitting an unbelievable amount of home runs for the Mets and stealing all the headlines, the pitchers have been going about their business like nothing has changed from the regular season, and that is all New York can ask of them.

This is a group of three pitchers—who are incredibly inexperienced—had never been to the playoffs before this season and are pitching like some of baseball’s greatest historical rotations. Whichever team emerges from the ALCS has a tough task on its hands in figuring out how to beat these pitchers. No one else has done it so far, so odds aren’t in the Royals’ or Blue Jays’ favor.

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Matt Harvey Reportedly Has Insurance Policy on Arm After Innings-Limit Debate

The “debate” about Matt Harvey‘s innings limit is over: There isn’t one. It’s become clear the New York Mets ace will keep pitching until his arm falls off or New York is eliminated from the playoffs—whichever comes first.

Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras, has put a plan in place just in case the former scenario happens. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Boras purchased an insurance policy for Harvey’s arm that will cover potential lost earnings if he suffers an injury. The policy is “two-tiered,” according to Heyman, with one payout based on a loss of earnings and another covering a potential career-ending injury.

Harvey, 26, threw 7.2 innings of four-hit baseball Saturday night, helping lead the Mets to a 4-2 win over the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. That win pushed him over the 200-innings mark for the season, a mark that may be concerning to Boras. The agent and Mets management were at odds last month over how many innings Harvey should throw in 2015 as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery.

Per Heyman, Boras said:

We were never about him not pitching in the postseason, and we never said Matt Harvey wasn’t going to pitch in the playoffs. Any question revolved around the management of innings. There’s an obligation — I should say mandate — to pitch. There’s an obligation to the integrity of the game, to his teammates and the fans. At no time did the player or I ever say he wasn’t going to pitch in the postseason.

I understand Matt Harvey has to pitch. The only way not to is to have the team take the ball away from him. And I don’t think they’re doing it anytime soon.

As it stands, there’s no way Harvey can stop throwing now. The Mets are ahead, 2-0, in the NLCS and peaking at the perfect time. Their offense, after being so stagnant earlier in the regular season, is surging with clutch hits. Their rotation, led by Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, might be the best 1-2-3 punch remaining.

There is no easy out here. It’s just smart of Boras to put a contingency plan in place in case the worst happens.


Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

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Cubs vs. Mets: NLCS Game 2 TV Schedule, Pick and Ticket Info

It’s based on a small sample size and one that is likely to change in the long run, but if his first two playoff starts are any indication, Matt Harvey should be a star for a long time.

All the talk surrounding the Cubs‘ young bats was deafening leading up to Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday night, but the young Mets pitcher was having none of it and put in one of the best pitching performances of the postseason to secure the win.

With a five-inning, two-earned run night against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS already under his belt, Harvey has been one of the stars of the postseason so far. The Mets will turn to another young pitcher, Noah Syndergaard, in Game 2 with the hopes of securing the win against potential Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta.

Game 1 belonged to Harvey and the Mets, but the series is far from guaranteed, and Sunday night will go a long way toward deciding who is going to continue their dream of winning the World Series.

Let’s take a look at where to watch the game and who is going to win in Flushing, New York.


Date: Oct. 18

Time: 7:30 p.m.


Ticket Info: ScoreBig.com



New York was known for its talented group of young pitchers in the regular season, and so far in the playoffs, the narrative hasn’t changed.

Harvey was brilliant in shutting down the Cubs offensively Saturday night, only allowing four hits over 7.2 innings pitched, but the pitching advantage shifts back to Chicago in a big way in Game 2.

Syndergaard has been one of the surprises of the season despite his youth, recording a 3.24 ERA in the regular season. But his year doesn’t compare to the magical season that Arrieta has put forth.

The Cubs ace led the National League in wins, ranked second in ERA at 1.77 and finished third in strikeouts. His first playoff outing was a gem. He pitched a complete game, giving up five hits and no earned runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card Game.

His second outing wasn’t as strong. He allowed four earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched against the St. Louis Cardinals, but after the second half to the season Arrieta had, the safe bet would be on that being an outlier with a bounce-back against the Mets coming.

New York’s bats showed up in Game 1, with homers from Travis d’Arnaud and Daniel Murphy and a two-RBI night from Curtis Granderson, but it is hard to count on them putting up big numbers throughout the series.

Chicago, on the other hand, has to be disappointed with how its offense performed in Game 1. Kris Bryant, Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rizzo finished hitless on the night with only Kyle Schwarber and Starlin Castro able to break out of the funk and pick up RBIs.

There is a lack of experience in the Cubs lineup, but with so much talent, the odds are good that Chicago will find a way to put up runs in Game 2 and give Arrieta the support he needs to win.

A win in Game 2 would be huge for either team. For the Mets, it would mean holding onto home-field advantage as the series shifts to a long trip to Chicago. For the Cubs, it could be a decisive win with Wrigley Field providing a difficult environment for the Mets.

Arrieta is just too good to be kept down for long, and he should come out strong against the Mets to help Chicago secure a victory and draw the series even at 1-1.

Prediction: Cubs 5, Mets 1

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Matt Harvey Shows Up an Ace to Quell Powerful Cubs Lineup in NLCS Game 1 Win

NEW YORK — He took the mound to begin the series, determined to set a tone. He left the mound nearly eight innings later, with the fans chanting his name and his teammates ready to sing his praise.

Matt Harvey could write an online opus about the way he pitched Saturday night in Game 1 against the Chicago Cubs, expect this time, there’s no need to clear anything up. Anyone who saw him pitch the New York Mets to their 4-2 NLCS-opening win already understands.

“I think anyone who had any doubts about his toughness or desire to pitch should take notice of tonight,” Mets first baseman Michael Cuddyer said.

And anyone who had any question why Harvey ignored the innings-limit warnings and chose to pitch in October only had to watch and listen Saturday. Perhaps Harvey is taking a risk (he went over the 200-inning mark for the season, in his first year back from Tommy John surgery), but this night was a huge part of the reward.

“I wanted to go out there,” he said. “I wanted this game bad.”

It showed in his demeanor. It showed in his body language. It showed most of all in his performance, in a nine-pitch first inning and three more perfect innings that followed. Matched up against Jon Lester, the $155 million Cubs starter with the fine postseason resume, Harvey was the No. 1 starter he has always wanted to be.

He ended up working two outs into the eighth inning, deep enough for Mets manager Terry Collins to avoid his shaky middle relief and hand the ball directly to closer Jeurys Familia. He gave up two runs and just four hits while striking out nine.

He stifled a Cubs lineup that looked unbeatable in the division series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Kyle Schwarber eventually homered on Harvey’s final pitch, but for the first four innings, the homer-happy Cubs never even hit a ball to the outfield.

The Mets actually out-homered the Cubs in Game 1, with Daniel Murphy hitting another one and Travis d’Arnaud sending one into the Home Run Apple behind the center field fence. The Mets showed off defensively, too, with Yoenis Cespedes throwing Starlin Castro out at the plate in the fifth and Murphy ending the game with a fine play to rob Tommy La Stella.

“It was a complete team win, and it was nice to be able to contribute,” Harvey said.

Nice words, but Harvey did more than contribute. This was his game, the type of game he always expected to pitch and the type of game the Mets always expected him to pitch.

None of it should have been a surprise, and none of it would have even been a question, except for that innings-limit mess six weeks back.

Remember that agent Scott Boras said the Mets were putting Harvey “in peril” if they allowed him to go past 180 innings this season. Remember that a day after Boras went public, Harvey suggested he agreed with his agent and would stick to the limits. Remember the storm that caused among Mets fans and in the New York tabloids, forcing Harvey to write his own story the next day in Derek Jeter’s Players’ Tribune.

“I will pitch in the playoffs,” Harvey wrote, seeking to calm the storm and regain his reputation.

The questions persisted all the way through to the end of the regular season. Maybe he would start just one game per round, or just one game total. Maybe he would pitch with limits.

“That time hurt him,” Cuddyer said. “Not physically, but it hurt his heart.”

Harvey started Game 3 of the division series. He got the win that night against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he allowed three runs in five innings and wasn’t satisfied.

He wanted more. He wanted a game like Saturday.

“You could tell,” Cuddyer said. “He had it in his eyes when he went to take the mound. He wasn’t going to be denied. He was on board.”

He was still on board when Dexter Fowler lined a ball off his right triceps to begin the sixth inning. Collins got the bullpen ready just in case, but Harvey finished that inning and one more, and then he told Collins he wanted to pitch the eighth as well.

Harvey didn’t finish the eighth, but he didn’t need to. The game was already won, and Harvey’s reputation was already restored.

The same fans who had ripped him on Twitter and talk radio were chanting his name.

“Har-vey! Har-vey!”

“I think after everything that’s happened, I think the biggest thing was really staying focused on what I had to do,” Harvey said. “I know there’s been a lot of speculation or talk going around the past month, but I kind of wanted to kind of stop all that.”

Consider it stopped, and consider it a given that Harvey will pitch again in this NLCS if the Mets need him. General manager Sandy Alderson said Friday the team was still undecided, but barring an injury or a four-game Mets sweep, it’s unimaginable now to think Harvey wouldn’t start.

You saw him Saturday. He was Matt Harvey, with all of the good that goes along with it and none of the bad.

Any questions?


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball. 

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Soap Opera That Has Been Matt Harvey’s Season to Add Latest Episode in NLDS

Of course Matt Harvey will take the ball for the New York Mets in Game 3 on Monday at Citi Field. Chase Utley just cranked up the emotions of this National League Division Series from easy listening to ear-splitting.

As it just so happens, who else would be on deck to step squarely into the middle of this thing?

To a Mets team that leads the majors in lowercase d’s—Travis d’Arnaud, Jacob deGrom—Harvey, 26, puts the uppercase D in “Drama.”

The Mets will tell you he doesn’t necessarily seek it. He doesn’t necessarily relish in it. The term “Drama Queen” is way too, well, dramatic for Harvey.

But man, does he find it, as effortlessly as the Kardashians sniffing out tabloid covers.

And now here it comes again.

Harvey already has drilled Utley with a fastball once this year, back in April. It was when Utley was still in Philadelphia, and Phillies starter David Buchanan had hit two Mets earlier in the game.

In 18 career at-bats against Harvey, Utley owns a .984 slugging percentage. Until MLB suspended him for two games on Sunday, there was a good chance Utley would be in the Dodgers lineup for Game 3. Now, pending appeal…

At a Citi Field press conference Sunday, Harvey referred to Utley’s “tackle” of Ruben Tejada on the play that broke the shortstop’s leg in Game 2. And Harvey is emotional enough that Mets manager Terry Collins said he already has spoken with him about how to handle the now-volatile situation against the Dodgers.

“I’ve had this conversation with him before, and when he steps on that piece of rubber, everything else is about the guy at home plate,” Collins said. “It’s him against that guy at home plate, and that’s all he’s thinking about.

“So I just wanted to make sure today that he knew that; hey, look, he’s got to go relax and make his pitches and, you know, worry about winning the baseball game.”

This is just Harvey’s latest challenge.

It was just over a month ago when he dropped the bombshell that he wasn’t supposed to pitch more than 180 innings this season, triangulating a message that yanked himself, his agent Scott Boras and Mets general manager Sandy Alderson into an uneasy public conversation that at times turned hostile.

It was just last week that he showed up late to a workout, shoveling more drama in Queens just before the Mets departed for Los Angeles to begin this series.

Inquiring minds want to know: Has Harvey irreparably damaged his relationship with his teammates? With his employers? With his fans?

“I think the perception of every player is that Matt’s got a great work ethic,” Boras said over the weekend in Los Angeles. “I think everybody knows that. Everybody knows what his ethic is.

“And remember this, too: Matt Harvey gave his arm already for the New York Mets. And that was in 2013, he went out and pitched until he didn’t have a ligament.

“He’s the kind of guy that wants his team to do well, wants them to win, and you’ve seen what he’s done.”

That Harvey already has blown out his elbow once, resulting in the Tommy John surgery in 2013 to which Boras was referring, makes his workload watch automatic headline news every time his pitching odometer rolls over another third of an inning.

So many mixed signals have been sent by so many regarding his workload that it appears the Mets are making it up as they go. And Harvey, too.

After being the first one to voice the limit, Harvey then pitched longer than expected in the Mets’ division-clinching win over Cincinnati, telling manager Terry Collins that he wanted to keep going.

He finished the summer at 189.1 innings.

So, will he pitch Game 3 with any kind of leash attached? Will the Mets automatically open a trap door after, say, five innings and make him disappear?

“We’re going to take it one game at a time and see where we’re at,” Alderson told Bleacher Report in Los Angeles.

Boras, so vociferous last month, now is going dark about the Mets’ Harvey plan.

“I’m not going to comment on it,” the agent said. “I just want to focus on the game and let them do what they’re going to do.”

He spoke with Alderson in September, a conversation during which, Boras says, Harvey’s doctors were on the phone.

“But in the playoffs, I think baseball just needs to be played here,” Boras said. “You certainly want the players and the teams to focus on the game.

“That’s what everybody should do.”

That plan was sidetracked last week when Harvey showed up late for the workout, angering his manager and teammates. Still, according to sources close to the Mets, Harvey is well-liked by teammates. He is not a pariah. He just makes them mad sometimes.

So, what do you do? During a conference call last week, I asked our resident TBS pregame and postgame show experts.

“As a manager, you have to handle it the right way,” veteran manager Dusty Baker said. “It has to be known from the get-go. My No. 1 rule was, don’t be late to work. If you are going to be late, you call me and make sure it wasn’t going to be a couple of times [within] a period of time.

“You have to handle it now while he is young, because what is going to happen later on? Also, his other teammates are looking at you on how are you going to handle it because you have to keep respect with the other teammates.”

“They should have handled this a long time ago,” longtime slugger Gary Sheffield said. “Now, these things are starting to pile up. He is doing veteran moves, if anyone can get away with it, but veterans aren’t even doing this. … It is an organizational problem.”

Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez spent four seasons (2005-08) in a Mets uniform toward the end of his career, and he’s seen plenty of phenoms come and go over the years. Some with more staying power than others.

“You still have time to hold the leash on Harvey,” Martinez said. “Everybody messes up, and I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. Some of those veterans will pull him aside. David Wright, I know, will pull him aside and say, ‘Are you in or are you out?'”

Indeed, Wright, 32, and a teammate of Martinez’s during Pedro’s Mets years, was perturbed and did pull Harvey aside.

“We have a very good chance every time Matt Harvey takes the mound,” Wright told B/R. “With who he is and the stature he has, there’s been some things that obviously have happened over the course of the year where he’s made some mistakes. And he’s acknowledged them.

“But when it comes game time, and he takes the mound and gets the ball in his hand, there are very few guys in this game that give you that good of a chance to win. And he’s right on top of that list.”

Enter Game 3, the Dodgers and an expected sellout Citi Field crowd wanting its pound of flesh after the Utley slide broke Ruben Tejada’s leg.

“I think the most important thing is going out and doing my job and doing what’s best for the team,” Harvey said Sunday. “For me, in my mind, that’s going out and pitching a long game and being out there as long as I can and, you know, keeping zeroes on the board. For me, that’s my job. Continuing to do that is always going to be my job.

“But you know, as far as sticking up for your teammates, I think being out there and doing what’s right is exactly what I’m going to do.”

Like a moth to a flame, Harvey has a knack for this stuff, for flying straight into the searing heat of drama.

“Well, we’re in New York,” Wright said, grinning. “Anytime you’re in New York, you’re going to get more drama than in most other places.”


Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Scott on Twitter and talk baseball.

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Mets Could Be Latest Team to Prove Youth Is No October Obstacle

NEW YORK — Michael Cuddyer played in the postseason five times with the Minnesota Twins.

The only series they won was the first one.

Cuddyer was 23 years old, most of his teammates weren’t much older (Torii Hunter and David Ortiz were both 26), and the Twins were playing in October for the first time in 11 years.

“And we had to play Game 5 in Oakland,” Cuddyer said last month. “It wasn’t easy.”

It won’t be easy for Cuddyer’s current team, either, not with the New York Mets opening the National League Division Series with back-to-back games in Los Angeles against Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. But in a major league season already defined by youth and in a postseason that opened Tuesday night with the young Houston Astros beating the aging New York Yankees, there’s absolutely no reason to think the kids who are now Cuddyer’s teammates with the Mets will be overwhelmed by their first taste of October.

Perhaps 26-year-old Matt Harvey made a youthful mistake when he showed up late for Tuesday’s workout. More likely, Harvey will be making mistakes like that as long as he’s in the big leagues.

Even more likely, it won’t keep him from being at his dominating best when he starts Game 3 against the Dodgers next Monday at Citi Field.

The Mets’ plan was to use their four “young gun” starters in this series, with 27-year-old Jacob deGrom and 23-year-old Noah Syndergaard starting Games 1 and 2, respectively, and 24-year-old Steven Matz following Harvey in Game 4. Matz is battling back trouble and may not be able to pitch, but that won’t change the fact the Mets can only win if the kids can handle October.

“Our starters are great,” said Travis d’Arnaud, the Mets’ 26-year-old catcher. “We believe in our starters. We believe in our guys, and we think we match up with anyone.”

They could be a great matchup with the Dodgers given how hard the Mets youngsters throw and the perceived vulnerability of the Dodgers lineup against high-velocity pitchers. Each one of the Mets’ four kids had an outstanding start against the Dodgers this season, and they combined for a 1.71 ERA in matchups against L.A.

Those games were in July, but for the most part, the kids pitched well in big games down the stretch, too. Manager Terry Collins wasn’t surprised.

“When you are those kind of guys, you’ve always pitched in big games all your life,” Collins said. “A state championship game in high school or a minor league championship game. It’s a different level, sure, but they’re used to being out there, and those are the guys who want the baseball.”

Besides, there are tons of examples in baseball history of inexperienced kids succeeding in October. Everyone remembers how good Madison Bumgarner was last October at age 25, but Bumgarner also pitched eight shutout innings in Game 4 of the 2010 World Series when he had just turned 21.

Francisco Rodriguez was 20 when he was a postseason force out of the bullpen for the 2002 Anaheim Angels. John Smoltz was only 24 when he battled Jack Morris in a memorable Game 7 in 1991, and rotation mates Tom Glavine (25) and Steve Avery (21) were kids, too.

“I think when you have a few veteran players, they take all the heat off the kids,” said Terry Pendleton, signed to be the key veteran on that Atlanta Braves team. “I tried to stand in the way of [media] guys who were trying to talk to our young guys.”

The Mets have veterans like that, from Cuddyer to team captain David Wright to Curtis Granderson. All three of them know what it’s like to be a kid playing in October. All three have good memories of it.

Wright was 23 years old when his 2006 Mets team beat the Dodgers in the division series and finished a win away from the World Series when it lost Game 7 to the St. Louis Cardinals. Granderson was a 25-year-old center fielder that same year with the Detroit Tigers, who did make it to the World Series before also losing to the Cardinals.

“It’s a good mix here,” Wright said. “If you had 25 rookies, I’m not sure how you would do. But having young players, that balance brings energy.”

The postseason brings energy of its own, and every year, you hear about how important experience can be to help you deal with it. And then you watch the National League Wild Card Game on Wednesday night and watch 22-year-old Kyle Schwarber drive in the first three runs for the Chicago Cubs.

The Mets will take their kids to Los Angeles, and they’ll take their chances.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

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Matt Harvey Absent from Mandatory Workout Ahead of NLDS

New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey did not attend Tuesday’s mandatory workout as his club gears up for Friday’s Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  

Harvey eventually arrived at Citi Field to issue a statement and was remorseful for his actions. “Obviously today was not the greatest. The last thing I ever want to do is not be with my team. There’s no excuse. I screwed up,” he said, per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.

Harvey said he was stuck in traffic, which caused his absence, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

“‘I was doing some stuff, looked up and it’s 1 o’clock and said, ‘Oh s–t,'” Harvey said, according to manager Terry Collins, per Adam Rubin of ESPN.

According to Rubin, Collins said Harvey will be fined for missing the workout, adding it was “minor,” per Marc Carig of Newsday.

Third baseman David Wright didn’t shy away from the issue when addressing Harvey’s situation in front of the media.

“I’m concerned about the guys who are here. The guys who are here had a great workout,” Wright said, per DiComo.

The New York Post‘s Mike Vaccaro weighed in on Wright’s reaction:

Harvey is New York’s probable Game 3 starter for the NLDS, a contest slated for Oct. 12 in New York. The 26-year-old missed all of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery but has rediscovered his form, posting a 13-8 record with a 2.71 ERA this season.

This shouldn’t be as much of a concern for the Mets since they won’t require Harvey’s services right away. Reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom is starting Game 1 against the Dodgers. Noah Syndergaard will take the mound in Game 2, followed by Harvey when the series goes back to the Big Apple.

So long as Harvey is ready to roll for Game 3 in the Mets’ first home playoff contest since 2006, all will likely be forgiven.

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